Courtland Class of ’47 has 63rd reunion

Published 8:51 am Friday, October 29, 2010

Every year, the annual reunion for the Courtland High School Class of 1947 gets fewer alumni attending.

And instead of a dinner gathering, they now meet for lunch so they have more time to socialize before it gets too late. All have turned 80 by now, so it’s understandable.

Eight of 23 graduates met for their 63rd class reunion on Oct. 9 at For Pete’s Sakes in Courtland. Another eight could not make it, and seven are deceased.

Those attending were Ruth Francis Carter of Franklin, Katherine Bell Martin of Radford, Helen Francis Gillette of Capron, Bess Bryant Sheldon of Portsmouth, Lewis Bryant of Capron, Alfred Gray Stables of Corinth, Miss., Lewis Holmes Davis of Courtland and Emerson Burgess of Capron.

“Alfred comes from Mississippi every year,” said Helen Gillette. “His father was a Methodist preacher in Capron.”

Spouses attending this year were Tom Martin, Louise Bryant, Gail Stables, Leona Davis and Shirley Burgess. Tom and Katherine Martin’s children, Anne Martin of Roanoke, Tom Martin Jr. of Richmond and Jay Martin of Newport News, also attended.

Members unable to attend were Rana Peele Crosby of Boyertown, Pa., Gladys Joyner Wright and Norman Coggsdale, both of Richmond, Shirley Marks

McBroom of Fredericksburg, Rebecca Williams Burriss of Mechanicsville and Claude Burgess, Ryland Beale and Tommy Joyner, all of Courtland.

Deceased classmates include Bertie Magette Haslette, Imogene Bass Perry, Margaret Cabiness Johnson, Dot Drake Godwin, Leon Nixon, Alfred Brantley and Lewis Babb.

The class met for its 50th reunion in 1997 and decided to meet in 2000. The reunion has been an annual event for 10 years.

“We decided we’d like to get together. We just enjoy seeing each other,” Helen said. “We used to have a nice attendance with spouses, but the numbers are dwindling. We went for a long time before we lost a member in our class.”

Leon was the first to pass.

• The burner on the hush puppy fryer quit working during Wednesday’s fish fry at the American Legion Post 73, creating a traffic backup on Armory Drive.

“It put us a little behind,” said Commander David Flythe. “The burner was out for about 30 minutes.”

The malfunction occurred early into the dinner, for which nearly 600 meals were served.

“We usually fix 100 plates ahead and had fish ready, but we couldn’t cook the hush puppies,” said Flythe, who apologized to the community.

The Legion served 320 pounds of fish.

• Local photographer Tara Kea on Saturday took Halloween portraits at Connie’s Kids for Children’s Boutique in Chesapeake as a fundraiser for Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters.

The first-time event resulted in 30 appointments, of which half of the children were from the Franklin-Southampton County area.

“We hope to make this an annual event and are hoping for an even larger turnout next year,” Kea said.

Children from three Hunterdale families dressed up like characters from “The Wizard of Oz” for a Halloween portrait fundraiser in Chesapeake on Saturday. Tucker Worrell, 4, is the Tin Man. Reed Worrell, 11 months, is the Lion. They are the children of Whitney and Charlie Worrell. Paisley Benson, 15 months, is Dorothy. She is the daughter of Michele and Kevin Benson. Winston White, 10 months, is the Scarecrow, and Claire White, 10 months, is the Good Witch. They are the children of Brooks and Davey White.

GWEN ALBERS is managing editor of The Tidewater News. Her e-mail address is